What does a Financial Analyst do?
A financial analyst examines financial data and uses their findings to help organizations make business decisions, which are mostly investing decisions. In this role, you will be responsible for monitoring and interpreting industry and economic trends data, making predictions of the current trends, analyzing historical results, determining the fair market value for the sale of company stock, and making recommendations. You will also help the business determine its present value and future business abilities. Financial analysts play necessary parts in many industries making it a very flexible role that allows you to work in your industry of interest.
What skills do you need to become a Financial Analyst?
The skills of a financial analyst range from soft skills to sophisticated technical ones to perform your duties effectively. These needed skills include the following:
- Accounting skills: You need to have completed recognized finance qualifications like accounting for you to even consider a career in the field. Accounting skills such as accounting principles, standards and techniques, managing cash flow and a general ledger, cost analysis and reduction calculations, reconciling bank statements, basic knowledge of accounting programs, and the mathematical formulas needed.
- Communications skills: A strong ability to deliver written and oral information is a required skill as a financial analyst. You should be able to understand and simplify financial jargon to clients and also communicate important financial information to investors.
- Analytical skills: You should be able to effectively recognize and analyze financial problems and come up with possible solutions to help your company make sound financial decisions.
- Financial literacy: You are required to possess the ability to decipher financial situations like having knowledge of the current investment market to better perform your duties.
- Problem-solving skills: A financial analyst is a problem solver who addresses the financial implications of a complicated business structure or dealing with a client’s financial dilemma. Your ability to come up with creative solutions to financial issues will see career growth.
- Interpersonal skills: It is very crucial for financial analysts to possess interpersonal skills to enable them in interacting with teams and stakeholders during information presentation and task collaboration.
- Technical skills: You MUST have experience in dealing with software such as SQL and QuickBooks, which are used in accounting and bookkeeping. It is also important for you to keep on learning new software and applications to effectively perform as a financial analyst.
What are the responsibilities of a Financial Analyst?
- Recommend individual investments and collections of investments
- Evaluate current and past financial data
- Study trends in financial performance and provide recommendations for improvement
- Provide financial models and financial forecasts
- Investigate a company’s financial statements to determine its value
- Consult company officials to gain better insight into the company’s prospects and to develop long-term commercial plans
- Assess the strength of the management team
- Prepare written reports and communicate the insights of these reports to the wider business
A day in the life of a Financial Analyst
A day in the life of a financial analyst starts very early in the morning by checking international trade and markets for any relevant market releases or developments. You will then move on to check and respond to emails and follow up on any previous day’s item.
You move on to morning meetings with your team, clients, or management to present investment ideas. You may also need to plan projects and schedules around the flow of the market by reviewing collected data and financial models.
During lunch, you may need to dine with industry contacts to help build your networks in order to further your agenda. In the afternoon, you will review reports and releases to plan for the next day while performing some personal errands and responding to the day’s emails.
The following are some career paths you can pursue as a financial analyst:
- Budget Analysts
- Financial Managers
- Insurance Underwriters
- Personal Financial Advisors
- Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
- Corporate financial analysts
- Corporate securities research analysts
- Corporate statistical financial analysts
- Fund managers
- Institutional commodity analysts
- Portfolio managers
- Rating analysts
- Risk analysts
- Securities analysts
Top 5 Financial Analyst books you MUST read!
- The Million-Dollar Financial Advisor: This book is based on interviews with 15 top advisors with several million dollars worth of business every year and it distills their guiding principles to succeed. It provides you with lessons and principles to help develop a long-term approach.
- Financial Fitness Forever: This book provides you with a clear explanation of the investment strategies based on statistics and facts. It helps you understand if you should try to beat or accept the market’s returns, how to diversify your assets, how to manage risks, etc.
- Financial Statement Analysis: This is a valuable book that teaches you the art of scepticism and critical thinking. It helps you understand beyond definition and calculation and learn the interpretation of the financial analysis.
- Storyselling for Financial Advisors: This book provides you with stories that are some of the most powerful marketing tools. It helps you break down complex topics for your clients in financial services.
- Quality Investing: This book provides you with detailed key qualities that investors should look for in high-quality businesses that can stand the test of time and fend off competition.
5 Best online platforms for Finance Analyst courses
- Business and Financial Modeling Specialization: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/wharton-business-financial-modeling
- Finance & Quantitative Modeling for Analysts Specialization: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/finance-quantitative-modeling-analysts
- The Complete Financial Analyst Course 2021: https://www.udemy.com/share/101WmC/
- The Complete Financial Analyst Training & Investing Course: https://www.udemy.com/share/101WaS/
- Financial Analysis: Introduction to Business Performance Analysis: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/financial-analysis-introduction-to-business-performance-analysis
- Business Analytics: https://www.udacity.com/course/business-analytics-nanodegree–nd098
- Intro to being a CFO! Learn about Profitability and Financial Analysis: https://skl.sh/3sVrnh5
A career as a financial analyst has the potential to deliver major financial rewards to you and the satisfaction that comes from being an integral part of the business dynamic. It requires ample preparation before fully venturing into it because it’s a fast-paced, cutting-edge, and highly competitive career choice. You can specialize in a specific investment field as you gain experience and having a master’s degree in finance or business administration will increase your chances of advancing to one of these positions. As industries continue to expand especially in the technology world, more opportunities continue to open up as a financial analyst.
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